Paid employment associated with better mental health in adults with ID

By Eimear McGlinchey
School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland

Unemployment is a critical issue for people with an intellectual disability (ID) with consequences for health, mental health, self-esteem, and self-confidence.

What did you do in your research?
This nationally representative study included 753 participants from Ireland. Participants took part in a face-to-face interview examining issues such as employment status, health, mental health, social participation, and relationships with family and friends.

What did you find out?
Nearly 25% of participants said that they were employed. When analyzing further, we found that a lot of these individuals were actually attending a day service, but perceived this to be employment. Additionally, a number of other people were in sheltered employment. We found that being in some state of employment - whether real paid employment, perceived employment, or sheltered employment - was beneficial for participation in social situations. However, being in real paid employment (as opposed to sheltered employment or perceived employment) was associated with better mental health and lower rates of depression. We also found that age, level of ID, place of residence, and level of education predicted employment status.

What are the take-home messages?
A number of people with ID noted that they did not engage in employment for fear of losing their disability allowance. Therefore, there is a need for innovative ways to include individuals with ID in the workforce. A better understanding is needed of the barriers and factors that influence employment status in individuals with ID.

To learn more about these findings contact
Eimear McGlinchey or visit Project Website.

Full Journal Article
McGlinchey, E., McCallion, P., Burke, E., Carroll, R. & McCarron, M. (2013). Exploring the Issue of Employment for Adults with an Intellectual Disability in Ireland. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 26, 335–343.